Tommy Wells Office Hours

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells will have office hours on March 8th from 8:00-9:30am at the City Vista Busboys & Poets (1025 5th Street NW). This is an excellent opportunity to gain face time with both the Councilmember and his staff.

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Ward Redistricting

Incorporating population counts from the 2010 Census the D.C. government was tasked to revise Ward boundaries to comply with district law. Wards are allowed to vary plus or minus 5 percent from the average derived from dividing the citywide population by eight. Under this criteria Ward 2 needed to shrink in size while Wards 7 & 8 needed to grow.

Last Thursday the Subcommittee on Ward Redistricting returned their recommendations. As Ward 6 is nested between Wards 2 and 7 its borders incurred the most change. I believe I read that 12% of the population of Ward 6 was affected in some way. While the eastern border of Ward 6 also changed substantially the western edge is in close proximity to our neighborhood and deserves a closer look on this blog. The changes

Dashed line=Proposed new boundaries; Grey=Current boundaries

The changes reunite Penn Quarter and Chinatown from fractured between Wards 2 and 6 to fully within Ward 2. Ward 2 punts Shaw to Ward 6 to facilitate the swap while making sure to keep the Convention Center in the process. The committee’s recommendations have elicited the term “Jackmandering” to bring attention to how the Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, who was on the subcommittee, seemingly carved out all the large real estate assets along the border for his jurisdiction and pushed the higher crime areas to Ward 6 to deal with.

[Read more...]

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May MVSNA Meeting

This month’s Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association (MVSNA) membership meeting will be held on Tuesday May 17th at 7:30pm in the community room of the Yale Loft condominiums (437 New York Ave NW). A main topic of the meeting will be a discussion around Ward redistricting. If you haven’t already, try the interactive redistricting tool the Greater Greater Washington blog created to crowdsource data on the redistricting.

What are your thoughts on redistricting? Do you prefer the Triangle to stay in Ward 6? Or should it be assigned to whatever Ward will keep it connected to Mount Vernon Square?

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DDOT to Unveil Proposed Streetcar System Plan

DDOT spokesperson John Lisle sent out an announcement yesterday that the agency will unveil it’s proposed streetcar system plan a series of public meetings scheduled in every ward. The meetings kick off next Thursday October 22nd with the Ward 6 meeting (our ward) at J.O. Wilson Elementary (660 K Street NE) from 7 pm – 8:30 pm.

Portland Streetcar image from flickr user KGradinger

During the tenure of Mayor Anthony Williams two disconnected streetcar alignments, one on H Street NE, and the other in Anacostia were planned and the trams were ordered from the Czech Republic based Inekon. The order was fulfilled by Inekon years ago but the trams remain in the Czech Republic as progress on the project stalled. Finally in 2009 with the appointment of new DDOT director Gabe Klein tracks have begun to be installed on Benning Road NE and in Anacostia along Firth Sterling.

In early August, at a public forum held in the Atlas Theatre on H Street NE, Klein pledged to place streetcars back on the front burner stating the sluggish progress on the project was unacceptable. These public meetings in each ward will give District residents an opportunity to hear about the current progress and view updated plans for future streetcar lines across the District.

What does this mean for the Mount Vernon Triangle? One goal DDOT has is to connect the H Street NE/Benning Road streetcar line to the K Street Transitway which will run from Mount Vernon Square to Georgetown. I pondered two potential alignments for that connection back in April. I have a reputable source that says we should expect when the system is unveiled the MVT segment will use New Jersey Ave and K Street then connect to the H Street NE segment behind Union Station on the Hopscotch Bridge.

That NJ/K alignment makes a solid sense as both streets have wide right of ways and streetscape money already earmarked in the coming years. I don’t have any information on timing or station locations but perhaps some of the details we crave will be shared at these public meetings.

UPDATED [10/15/2009 11:10AM]: Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy wells tells the Washington Business Journal the H Street NE/Benning streetcar line is his primary project.

For a primer on streetcars, visit my past profile of Seattle’s Streetcar

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Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act

Yesterday David Alpert of the Greater Greater Washington blog reviewed the proposed Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act. This Ward 6 pilot act, which has a hearing at 11am today, will require that one side of all residential streets within a RPP zone be reserved for Zone parking permit holders. Alpert stated without balance the parking bill will hurt business then followed up with his five suggestions to improve the RPP program.

I do not agree with the blanket nature of the program. In my eyes all residential streets are not equal in nature but these modifications to the RPP program appear to treat them as such. The armchair urban planner in me believes that in mixed use high-rise districts, such as Penn Quarter and Mount Vernon Triangle, the on-street parking on commercial corridors should be metered to encourage high turnover. Long term parking should be primarily in parking garages which all these new construction buildings have. Modest amounts of RPP can be setup on street segments that lack retail space. Having a resident’s car, which has an RPP permit that costs $15/yr, squatting in a spot in front of Busboys for six days straight without moving will harm our retailers and in turn impact vibrancy of the neighborhood.

My proposed RPP alternative: RED=meters, GREEN=RPP

The above map mock up represents my rough draft vision of how parking permit zones and meters could be outlayed in the Mount Vernon Triangle (and surrounding area) considering the future plans for development in the Mount Vernon Triangle Action Agenda. My map preserves metered parking on both sides of streets that have significant commercial uses (such as 7th, H & K Streets). It also allows other streets that are purely residential and church uses to have both sides of the streets available for RPP.

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Reminder: Tommy Wells Community Open House

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells will be at 5th Street Hardware (1055 5th Street NW) for a community open house this Thursday, March 19 between 6:30PM and 8:30PM. The event has no programmed agenda and is a great opportunity to informally share concerns, discuss needed amenities, and to meet our councilmember

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Save the Date: Community walk with Tommy Wells

UPDATED (10/07/2008 10:20AM): Date for the Tommy Wells Community walk through has been changed to Thursday, November 6th.

D.C. Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells will join Mount Vernon Triangle residents for a Community Walk through at 6pm on Wednesday October 22nd 6pm on Thursday November 6th. The walk starts at the 555 Mass condominium. This is a followup to last year’s walk which is recapped on Tommy’s blog.

Picture taken from Tommy Wells blog

Following last year’s walk Wells made repeated requests to the National Park Service to improve lighting at the pocket park at 5th Street and Massachusetts Ave NW. With the federal agency not responding, Tommy asked DDOT to step in.

Last year’s event was coordinated by Thais Austin of 555 Mass.

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Second Annual Ward 6 Family Picnic & Softball Tournament

All Are Invited to the Second Annual Ward 6 Family Picnic & Softball Tournament Hosted by Councilmember Tommy Wells, Saturday, June 21, 2008, 11 am- 5 pm At the Rosedale Recreation Center • 1700 Gales Street, NE

Free Food and Fun for All Ages!!

Activities Include:

11:00 – Rosedale cleanup begins

12:00 – Celebrity Softball Tournament- featuring celebrity pitchers, members of the DC City Council, and other celebrity guests. To sign your team up contact Daniel Conner at

12-5 – Pool opens, Kids Soccer, Basketball and Tennis workshops.
Free health screenings, informational booths, and live music If you are interested in playing in the celebrity softball tournament; signing up for an informational booth; would like to be a sponsor; or have any questions contact Daniel Conner at 202-724-8063.

Sponsors of the Second Annual Ward 6 Family Day include:

Washington Nationals • DC United • Capitol Community News • Department of Parks and Recreation • Children’s Youth Investment • Corporation Trust • Tunnicliffs • Belga Cafe • Marty’s• Capitol Hill Bikes • The Argonaut • Hawk & Dove • Schneider’s of Capitol Hill • Café Delux •Cantina Marina • Zacks Taverna • Wellness Café • Riverby Books • Metropolitan Police Department • 9:30 Club and Many More…

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Council Passes Gutted Noise Bill & Single Sales Moratorium Deferred

Tuesday morning DC City Council voted on several issues with great relevance to the downtown and Triangle areas. The Council gutted the Noise bill before passing it.

The Single Sales of alcoholic beverages were also discussed. These single sales are magnets for loitering, public drunkenness, trash, panhandlers, and public urination. Miles Groves, of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, recapped the Council’s decision this way: “It was decided not to amend the current bill, but to create a new bill for Ward 6 and for ANC2c and ANC2f. The new bill should be read in two weeks, followed by a public meeting. After that, there will be a second reading and we hope the bill passes before the council goes into recess.

Other blogs have written about this with greater detail and knowledge than I could ever impart. Below I’ve listed a roundup of links from DC blogs recapping the issues. I found the Cary for Council post to be the most informative although some of the others have good discussions in the comments.

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